Brainstorm: Better Planning, Collaboration, & Reporting for Core Contributor Work

Hey @ali_hugo! Yes I download a CSV from Listaflow (latest sample attached)
2023-03-18 - 2023-04-01 .csv (66.8 KB) then pick and choose and copy/paste the important information into this public sheet here. From there I copy/paste directly into Discuss.

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@ali_hugo All time spent on tickets on the openedx org count as core contributor time yes, although before working on one I would recommend asking about it on the ticket, and confirming that 1) the work would pass product review (ie will the feature be actually wanted & included in the official project?) and 2) for non-technical work, that development time will be dedicated to the task and use of the work you do on it. That might save time, by avoiding working on things that would then not be used. :slight_smile:

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@Dean Great! Thanks for the additional info. I’m busy working on a survey that I’ll send out to all Core Contributors asking which of the ideas discussed in this thread are worth pursuing. You’ll receive a notification when it’s ready. From there, we can decide which improvements to prioritise.

That’s a good tip. Thanks!

@ali_hugo Another aspect worth considering: the work being done by @jalondonot to move some of the contributor meetup updates from the synchronous meeting to an async update on the forum. Each sprint’s updates are being grouped in a single thread, which contains both the core contributor async sprint updates compiled by @Dean and the recap of the (now async) updates that used to be given for each working group and significant project or event.

See for example the thread for the last sprint:

@jalondonot mentioned that it could be good to regroup the updates and information that we share and cleanup what’s not useful. Maybe it would be worth combining the effort done for both updates? I.e. make a nice update that combines the main information in a brief, nice and digestible way?


@antoviaque Thanks for letting me know that the Core Contributor and Working Group updates are now displayed in a single thread each sprint. I agree with @jalondonot’s suggestion to reassess the updates and decide what is and isn’t important to share; currently, there is a lot to wade through, and I suspect that most community members won’t have the time to do so. I’m sure there’s a more succinct way to share updates with the community. I’ll look into this and keep you posted.


Call for review

I’m reviving this thread :woman_zombie: to ask for your help…

I’ve created a draft survey covering some of the points discussed above. I’d like to send it out to all of our Core Contributors, but first I want to know if we’re asking the right questions, and if we’re asking them in the right way. I’ve placed the survey into a whiteboard in an attempt to make it easier to review. I’d love to hear what you think!

Follow these steps to review:

  • Open this link to access the whiteboard
  • Select “continue as guest” in the top right
  • Enter your email address (you can add a dummy address if you like)
  • Zoom in and out to view the structure of the survey
  • Add feedback directly to the whiteboard (by selecting the text tool in the sidebar), or as a comment on this thread

Let me know if anything is unclear. Thanks in advance for your help!


Great survey, Ali!

A few comments:

  • When asking about the CC work sprint schedule, I would add a link to the schedule so people can review it.
  • When asking “Should we continue doing sprints”, I suggest asking “why?” regardless of the response (if we’re after this info, and if it doesn’t add too much time to the survey).
  • When asking if we should keep using the sprint questionnaire, I also suggest asking “why?” regardless of the response (again – if we’re after this info, and if it doesn’t add too much time to the survey).

Thanks for your feedback @gabrieldamours!

Good idea! Do you know of a link that could work here? I can’t seem to find anywhere that describes the schedule.

2 more good ideas! I will add “why’s” for both of these questions.

Thanks again for the help. :slight_smile:

You’re welcome!

Me neither, so maybe we’re involuntarily raising a documentation issue, here. I would have expected to find a “Core Contributor Sprints” description/section somewhere in the Core Contributor Program description page, but could not find anything related to the sprint process. It would certainly help newcomers (and current members, even) understand the process better, and its importance. Maybe it wasn’t added because we’re still in beta (?)

Maybe. It does feel quite prescriptive to add a schedule to the documentation before we know how Core Contributors want to plan their time. So instead of adding something to the wiki now, I think I’ll add a description to the question like so:

When planning your work, do you follow the Core Contributor sprint schedule?
Sprints start on Saturdays and run for 2 weeks

@gabrieldamours Would that make the question clearer to you? (P.s. I hope the schedule I’ve described there is correct! @Fox_Piacenti @Cassie Could one of you confirm, please?)

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+1 to what you’ve said, and to your description : )

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@ali_hugo Thanks for the good work on this! A survey is a good base for doing an iteration of improvement. :+1: I have done a pass of review, I’m putting my comments below:

  • Can we ask the question 4 - “How long should core sprints be?” to everyone, regardless of what they choose on other questions? We can filter the results in the spreadsheet as needed, but it would be useful to know what everyone thinks, since it’s still going to have an impact, if anything on the rhythm of communication.

  • Before asking the question 3 - “Should we continue doing sprints?”, can we qualify the uses the respondant would have for them? We could get more granularity in what would be useful for people - either existing now, or to implement. I.e. add questions before like:

    • “Do you think Open edx would benefit from more planning of the work being contributed?”
    • “Would the project benefit from more/better retrospective about the contributed work?”
    • “Would it be useful to you to get more visibility from the community into your work?”
    • “Would you benefit from knowing more about other contributors’ work?”
  • For question 7 about the use of the sprint retro & planning questionnaire, I would rather ask the respondent if they find the questionnaire useful to collect checkins. We’ll all know more once we have the results of the questionnaire, so we should be taking better decisions then.

  • For question 8 about the timing of the notification to complete the questionnaire, I agree that we should make it clear when the end of the sprint actually is. I believe it’s Monday evening though?

    • In any case, we should show it clearly on the form - a good way to do that would be to write the name of the weekday on each of the form answers presented (eg. “c) Last day of sprint (Monday)”).
    • It would also be useful to make it clear what the response deadline is - which should be the evening of the last day of the sprint
  • For question 10 about the report, it’s useful to have the open response field, but it would be useful to also get the yes/no answer we have for the other elements too. It is useful to force a choice, though with giving the open text field to give nuances.

    • Actually, other sections of the form would also benefit from getting open forms (optional ones).
    • In the open form fields, also maybe ask which improvements people would like?

@gabrieldamours @ali_hugo

I believe the sprints finish on Monday evenings, no? In any case, it’s true that we have caught a gap in documentation - could we add to the tasks list on this project to properly document the sprints, including decisions and changes coming from the survey?

FYI, there are some elements described on the wiki about the sprints and their reports, for example at - but currently the new core contributors are mostly exposed to the process through the email notifications (cf onboarding runbooks). Having better documentation and onboarding of new core contributors could likely help a lot here.

We actually have a brand new set of core contributors who have just passed their reviews btw - it could be worth looking into their onboarding & feedback, in particular?


We touch on this in the Core Contributor Onboarding Course. If you’d like I can add you to that course for review, just send me the email address you’d like to use. I want to avoid documentation of the same thing in multiple places, so I’d welcome thoughts on the best places to document things such that we don’t have to sync things.


Sure, I’d be happy to review the course and make suggestions :slight_smile:

5 posts were merged into an existing topic: Confirming Core Contributor Sprints

@antoviaque Here is a very belated “thank you for your feedback”! I am finally finding time to get back onto this.

I’ve already made some of the updates your requests but would like to confirm something with you before I continue:

The way I see it, we can approach questions like this in two ways; either

  • we ask a required yes/no question followed by an optional open form question nudging the respondent for more info; OR
  • we ask a required open form question that ends in something like, “Why or why not?”

The first option makes the survey longer, but arguably easier to fill out. The second one makes the survey shorter but more wordy. Do you have a preference?

@ali_hugo It might depend on the question, but I would tend to prefer the first option - any open form question that is mandatory is likely to require more time (and thus give us less answers overall if people stop filling it by lack of time/energy). It might also be harder to interpet.

Imho when we need many open form questions, especially mandatory ones, it means we need more upfront interviews (which are an easier way to give open form responses for the interviewees, and show more respect for the interviewee than an “automated interviewer” via a form). The “free” responses obtained in the interviews then help designing specific questions, that we can validate against a larger panel of people via a form with yes/no answers.

I see what you’re saying. Initially the idea was to create a short and sweet survey, but it seems we have more to ask that I had anticipated! Interviews make sense. I will start setting these up next month when I have more time available.

P.s. I’d like to close this thread but I’m not sure how to. Do you know?

@ali_hugo Sounds good to me :+1:

As for closing the thread, I think only moderators can - we can simply stop posting here though :slight_smile: